From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Robert Strickler '32

Date of birth: October 11, 1909

Date of death: October 9, 1942

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1932 Lucky Bag:


Bob was lost on October 9, 1942, when, while returning from combat air patrol to the "Turtle Bay fighter strip at Espiritu Santo" his "F4F suddenly dropped into the jungle, and he died instantly."

His wife was listed as next of kin. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Wartime Service

Bob is mentioned repeatedly in First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat by John Lundstrom. One passage:

He graduated from Pensacola in 1936 and spent two years with VF-4B on the Ranger, followed by a year in VO-3 with the battleship New Mexico (BB 40). From June 1939 to August 1941, he instructed at Pensacola, then became XO of VF-71. Much alike in personality and style, Shands [the CO] and Strickler were quiet, capable, conservative, and dedicated naval aviators, who enjoyed the respect and loyalty of the squadron.

Bob was airborne when USS Wasp (CV 7) was torpedoed and sunk on September 15, 1942. This is the reason he and the remnants of his squadron (eight F4F-4s) were operating with the "Cactus Air Force" from land bases on and near Guadalcanal at the time of his loss. (His squadron lost 10 officers and men, and several aircraft, when Wasp was sunk.) He became the squadron's commanding officer during this time.

Memorial Hall Error?

Bob is not listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall. While not an obvious error, inclusion on the panel for crashes like this (incidental to combat flights) has been inconsistent across WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Class of 1932

Robert is one of 52 members of the Class of 1932 on Virtual Memorial Hall.